Man Who Kidnapped Whitefish Woman Sentenced to 50 years

By Beacon Staff

POLSON (AP) – A Polson man convicted of kidnapping a Whitefish woman in May 2006 was sentenced Thursday to 50 years in prison.

Charles Devlin, 58, will not be eligible for parole until he is 83.

In April, a District Court jury found Devlin guilty of kidnapping of an intoxicated woman he met at a Bigfork festival.

Devlin was arrested after a Bigfork-area resident called police to report hearing screams coming from inside a van. When police located the van, Devlin was driving.

The woman said Devlin covered her up with blankets and ordered her to be quiet, but she jumped out of the back of the van, pleaded for help and told the officer she did not know the driver.

Devlin was convicted of aggravated assault in the late 1980s and was convicted of violating his probation and bail jumping in 1994. His status as a persistent felony offender allowed prosecutors to seek a longer prison term.

District Judge Kim Christopher also sentenced him to five years in prison for jumping bail after his 2006 arrest.

The defense had argued that Devlin, a decorated Vietnam veteran, suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and needs help dealing with it rather than prison time.

Judge Christopher said other soldiers suffering from PTSD don’t harm other people.